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Michigan 4 - Wisconsin 1

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The Wolverines cruised to a 4-1 win over Wisconsin in Madison

Joe Wolke

The storyline leading up to to Michigan's critical series at Wisconsin was how they would handle playing on the bigger ice sheet.

It was immediately clear that the Wolverine forwards didn't need any time to adjust to the wider ice of the Kohl Center. From the opening puck drop they spaced out the Badgers and blasted pucks on Matt Jurusik, netting their first goal at the 4:25 mark of the first period. Tyler Motte went to open space to the right of Jurusik and JT Compher ripped a pass from the far blueline right on his tape.

The Badgers would strike back at the end of the period on a goal that should not have counted. A Michigan defenseman was pushed back into the net and it was taken off it's moorings; at the same time the puck went under the goal and in. Despite a no-goal call on the ice and a video review, it was ruled a goal.

The Wolverines, however, weren't deterred by the goal. They dominated possession for the rest of the game and feasted on soft spots on the wider sheet, hindered only by Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik, who turned in a fantastic performance.

The Badgers put up a good fight. They're a tough team and they were able to generate quality looks but in the opposite net Steve Racine was outstanding. He had no problems adjusting to the ice surface and turned in one of his bast performances of the season.

Eventually Michigan did what they always do, they scored the goal to break the tie and then piled it on a young Badger team. Boo Nieves did the honors taking a puck coast-to-coast and lifting a backhand on net that was cleaned up by Dexter Dancs.

Alex Kile would ice it later in the third on a power play. With Michigan set up in their 1-3-1 look Kyle Connor took the puck on the far left face-off dot and waited until a seam opened up; Alex Kile sat down in the soft zone and waited for the pass and Connor put it right on his tape for an easy tip in. Connor would sink the empty netter to make it 4-1.

The Wolverines will be back Saturday night at the same time looking for the sweep.